Artifacts are items which a hero may find while out questing. Monsters usually carry them around and some even fall from the sky from time to time.
List of Artifacts
A list of artifacts the hero is currently carrying appears in their inventory. The hero will sell them all for gold when they next visit a town. That is their only use.
However, there is a plethora of special artifacts with special abilities. Most are very rare though.
How to use
You can tell your hero to examine an artifact by putting its name in quotes in a Voice of god message.
eg. Examine "portable photon generator"
If your hero chooses to listen, a variety of things could occur. Some will be beneficial to your hero, others will not be of any use. However, it's important to remember that your hero may not listen and so it may be necessary to send the same message to him again until he does. If the hero listens, commonly he will examine the bold item and find another item and gold within. Sometimes the hero will be confused and examine a non bold item with no results.